Extortionist Just Won’t Stop, Prosecutors Say

David Lee

DALLAS (CN) — A Romanian extortionist has been re-indicted, accused of retaliating against his victim after he was released from a halfway house to home confinement.

William Laurence Stanley, 53, a search engine optimizer, was charged this week with “knowingly and with the intent to retaliate against a person for providing law enforcement information about the commission of a federal crime,” federal prosecutors said Wednesday. If convicted, he faces up to 10 more years in federal prison, restitution and a $250,000 fine.

Stanley pleaded guilty in July 2015 to transmitting threats in interstate and foreign commerce and Hobbs Act extortion.

A business that hired Stanley fired him after seeing a “website allegedly created by Stanley that had the ability to damage [the company’s] reputation by associating [it] with a scam,” prosecutors said. Stanley’s sister, Lynn Stanley Faust, also was charged in that case. Prosecutors said the siblings sent threatening email messages and phone calls from foreign countries to the company from December 2013 to February 2014, netting Stanley $29,000 that was sent to him in Brasoz, Romania.

Stanley was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution in that case.

He was sent to a halfway house in Houston in August this year, then to his daughter’s home in Angelton a month later. There, he allegedly began posting “false and derogatory comments and reviews” online about the company he’d extorted, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas said Wednesday.

“Several of the articles/blogs/complaints had titles and photographs added to place the victim company in an even more negative light,” the U.S. attorney said. “Stanley also allegedly encouraged others to duplicate the negative content in as many places as possible. The investigation revealed, among other things, that Stanley created the derogatory blogs while he was on home confinement in Angleton.”

The company “suffered a significant loss of revenue” from this, the prosecutor said.

Stanley is in jail. At a Dec. 2 detention hearing on the new charge, a federal magistrate judge “found there was no condition or combination of conditions that would reasonably assure Stanley’s appearance as required,” according to the U.S. attorney. “He noted that Stanley has a house and family in Romania, and he has expressed an interest in returning there. A family member also told law enforcement that he would definitely flee the country if released from custody.”